Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi, has given reasons for leaving out unattached goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim, for the international friendly match against Mexico in Atlanta on March 5.
The 52-year-old Nigerian manager explained to supersport.com from the United States of America (USA), where is at present on holidays to see his family, that he dropped Agbim since the African champions will play just one international game next month.
“I don’t think there is need to start raising issues on players left out of the friendly match against Mexico or those named in the team for the game. It is just a test game to see a few new players and those who we have not seen in a long while. So leaving out Chigozie Agbim and a few other players is no big deal.
“We have just one international game to play next month at the moment except things change, and it will make no sense inviting three goalkeepers for just one game. Remember football is a game of two halves. So, how do we integrate a third goalkeeper in a friendly match if we decide to play two different teams for each half? Also Agbim had a good test at the Chan recently so I don’t think we have to take three goalkeepers to just one match,” explained Keshi.
The 2013 African Coach of the Year also dismissed insinuation that he may have opted to drop Agbim for the match against Mexco’s El Tri owing to the goalkeeper’s dismal performance at the 2014 African Nations Championship (Chan) in South Africa, where Nigeria finished in third position.
“That’s totally untrue (about leaving out Agbim). It is not possible for a player to feature in every match. You will see that we have a number of players in that list who have never played at senior international level before and we have others making return to the team. Like I said, it is a test game and it will be needless to bring in three goalkeepers,” said Keshi to supersport.com.
Keshi also made it clear that the battle for places in the squad to Brazil remains open to players who impress in the build-up to the World Cup.
“Whoever impresses us ahead of the World Cup Finals and is ready for the big stage will get the chance. This team is not yet the best but we can build on our successes. Our boys will have to fight for places in the team to the World Cup and that is why we have test matches to assess them,” he said.